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  US troops kill seven civilians
Updated 01 April 2003, 07.13
Residents of Basra are fleeing the city as coalition forces get nearer
American soldiers have shot dead seven people, including two children, after their car failed to stop at a checkpoint.

The members of the Iraqi public in the car ignored warnings to stop and the soldiers opened fire.

It's thought seven women and children were killed, two were hurt, but four other people in the vehicle were not injured.

'Absolute right'

This is a serious blow to the coalition forces, who are trying to convince the Iraqi people that they are there to save them, and liberate them from Saddam Hussein's leadership, not to harm them.

Baghdad was rocked by heavy bombing overnight
A senior US military boss has defended the shooting, saying their soldiers have an "absolute right" to defend themselves.

This comes as heavy bombing continued day and night in Baghdad, the Iraqi capital. The coalition forces are targeting key government and military buildings.

Some ground troops are now just 80 km away from the capital, although they are meeting fierce opposition from Iraqi Republican Guard units.

Other main points:

  • Coalition forces have surrounded the city of Najaf, and are taking the village Abu al-Qassib near Basra - in some of the toughest fighting of the war so far
  • The US sends 5,000 extra troops to help out at Nasiriya
  • UK Defence Secretary says the coalition have taken 8,000 Iraqi prisoners of war
  • Iraqi authorities say they have killed 54 US and UK soldiers in the last 24 hours, but this hasn't been confirmed by any other source

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